The book The Everything Store by Brad Stone is creating a bit of controversy, because it gives a strong impression of Amazon and founder Jeff Bezos as being bullies and rather ruthless.
Even if you only read the chapter about the Kindle, there are numerous examples of the bullying character of Amazon. Just one, if true, suffices for me: that they will only take sales people who are of the character who believes that in a negotiation there must only be one winner, and that winner must be Amazon.
If taken far enough, I think that character trait in a person or a company ultimately is destructive. Look at it squarely: if you are a very strong person, and you *cannot* accept loosing under any circumstances, what respect do you have for other people’s lives and feelings? What respect do you have for rules and the law?
Some people in Bezos’ shoes would be having a fun game of having a very successful company amongst other successful companies. But a lot we hear about him indicates that he will never relax before reaching his real goal, which by logical extension is: Amazon being the all-dominating, untouchable, one-winner-takes-all merchant on the Earth.
Even the basic concept of Amazon (notice Bezos' joy when deciding on the name "Amazon" that the river Amazon is not just the biggest, but by *far* the biggest!) from the beginning: one store carrying everything, selling to everybody… what does that imply? It is not a “game” one would play for love of, for example, books and literature. Because he wants to sell *everything* to *everybody*, there is no love for anything in this game. The only attraction there can possibly be in it is the love of dominating and winning over everybody. It’s not even love of money, he could easily have had that, staying on Wall Street.
Jeff seems like a nice person, and I wish I could believe he were at the core. Because one company dominating all sales on the planet is a scary and dangerous idea. But we often see in very strong people that they have two very different faces which live apparently side by side with no trouble, probably oblivious of each other.
And all the different evidence we see, including Jeff’s continued willingness to sacrifice profits for growing market share, all points to this, I see nothing else which fits.
If Amazon is not big enough now to satisfy him, when will it be?
Only when it’s the last one standing. (Then he will begin to look for other planets to move onto, if he still has breath left. Heck, he already has a rocket company.)
The world is complex. I might be wrong. I hope I am.